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Mar 31st
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Cover Stories

Cover Stories

Learning to Love Autism

Learning to Love Autism

A local family’s experience with the disorder

River Robbins didn’t make eye contact for the first 10 years of his life. Not even his mother, father, grandmother and grandfather—all of whom help to raise him and his twin brother, Bodhi—knew the joy of looking into his beautiful blue eyes. Until recently.

“River had not made any eye contact with anybody, ever. His eyes might have, in passing, grazed over a person but there was no connection,” recalls River and Bodhi’s grandfather, John Robbins. “This particular time, about five months ago, something happened. Our faces were close to each other’s, and we found each other’s eyes and just stared. For about a minute. It hadn’t happened for even two seconds before.”

The boys’ grandmother, Deo, watched in amazement. “I remember watching it happening and I didn’t want to talk or even breathe because I didn’t want to break the spell,” she says. The “soul to soul” contact John remembers making with his grandson a few months ago was a breakthrough for the Santa Cruz County family.

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Cover Stories

The Kids are Alright

The Kids are Alright

How a cool posse of enterprising teens managed to find greater meaning in life and give back to the community. Two words: Food Justice.

Not too long ago, Jacques Jackson, a Watsonville teenager, often came home after school and, by his own admission, would not do anything productive at all. “Me and my friends would just go and waste time.”

Then there’s Sal. He lives in Santa Cruz’s Beach Flats area. A year ago, the 19-year-old says he just “partied” with his friends—like … off and on from Friday night through Sunday.

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Cover Stories

Fall Fashion

Fall Fashion


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Cover Stories

Marin's Milestone

Marin's Milestone

Conductor Marin Alsop looks back over her 20-year legacy at The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. PLUS: Why this year’s fest is destined to stand out.

Through composer Michael Daugherty’s eyes, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is a lot like Las Vegas in the ’50s and ’60s. Strip away the neon lights, wedding chapels and slot machines, and the man has a point. For entertainers at that time, playing Vegas was considered a career milestone. The same prestige applies to the festival today. And it is at this renowned gathering, where some of the greatest musical minds from around the world share the stage, that Marin Alsop reigns queen.

Celebrating her 20th year as music director of the festival, which has had a significant presence locally since 1963, Alsop is hailed by Daugherty and all who have had the opportunity to collaborate with her, as “the hardest working woman in show business.”

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Cover Stories

School’s Out...(forever)

School’s Out...(forever)

Homeschooling and unschooling. A look at the alternatives in Santa Cruz
School isn’t for everyone. Some critics even say that mass schooling makes kids dumber and less creative, less confident and less capable of thinking for themselves. Today in the United States, about 56 million children attend compulsory schools while the trend in learning outside of schools is growing as more families decide to avoid the socialization of control that’s a hallmark of “public education.” If “regular” schools are symbolized by a regimented system of bells and rules, the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling and unschooling might be characterized by this maxim: trust that children learn everywhere, all the time.

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Cover Stories

What’s So Funny?

What’s So Funny?

Searching for laughs in Santa Cruz—seriously

To Get to the Other Side

Readers’ Digest said it best, or at least most famously: Laughter is the Best Medicine. The adage is thought to come from the Bible, Proverb 17:22,  “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Similarly, the Koran supports the funny with, “He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.” And who among us can argue with Siddhartha Gautama’s observation, “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” Of course historically we laugh with equal gusto at all that is imperfect (see What’s Up With Airline Food?).

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Cover Stories

Kyer Wiltshire

Kyer Wiltshire

Views the world through a spiritual lens
This moment. Yes, this one right here. Are you enjoying it? Are you milking it for all it’s worth, savoring its nuances, pouncing on its opportunities?

The reason I ask is that this moment happens to be the only game in town. Not to be a downer, but the paper on which these words are printed will one day yellow and fade, then wither and crumble. Everything we see—as well as the eyes we see it with and the brains we’re using to process it with—will eventually return to the earth, and all of our efforts, dreams, struggles and schemes will be forgotten. The truth of Emerson’s assertion “Life is a journey, not a destination” couldn’t be more evident: The end of the line is oblivion (or at the very least, the oblivion of our present forms), so let’s not be in such a hurry to “get there.” Instead, let’s make damned sure we enjoy the ride, shall we?

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Cover Stories

Harbor Life

Harbor Life

Vibrant and full of all the natural wonders the coast has to offer, the Santa Cruz Harbor is a thriving close-knit community. It’s also one filled with neighbors who pull together during challenging times.

Don Lind, 84, pinches off pure Virginia tobacco, stuffs it into his pipe and lights a match. Beyond the curls of smoke he watches kayakers and couples in dinghies glide by outside his port window.

“Everything is alive here,” he says.

It was never a long sought-after dream to live on a boat for Lind. He hadn’t even been out on a boat until he was in his sixties. But, when he finally did go out onto the ocean he knew something was right. He said he got the feeling that he’d been there before. Now when he plays music in the cabin of his 32-foot motorboat, he looks out the window and to the trees on the hillside.

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Cover Stories

Thirty & Thriving

Thirty & Thriving

Cabrillo Stage’s Lile Cruse and Jon Nordgren open up the theater company’s milestone season.
Plus: a look back at how it all began.

Lile Cruse. Jon Nordgren. They are the two masterminds behind Cabrillo Stage. Cruse is the founding artistic director of the much-admired local theater company and Nordgren is the current artistic director. And they’re both in the spotlight as Cabrillo Stage celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

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Cover Stories

The World On My Back

The World On My Back

Camping and backpacking - and back again. Our adventurous scribe unveils all—just in time for summer
I’m writing this from inside my tent. I managed to erect it just as the first sprinkles started, and now it’s steadily raining. It’s a new tent, and so far has no leaks. Fingers crossed there.

Bringing this laptop is fairly indulgent, weight-wise, on a backpacking trip. Same with my wilderness survival books. But I knew this weekend was going to be rainy, and my original hike would likely be too hazardous when wet, so I picked an easier destination and figured I could deal with a little extra weight.

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Cover Stories

Weird is as Weird does

Weird is as Weird does

People assume Santa Cruz is ‘weird.’  But is it—really? Our gal-about-town tells all.

A dreadlocked midwife, a transgendered Unitarian Universalist minister, and a polyamorous Republican walk into a bar … stop me if you’ve heard this one.

The Premise

You’ve seen the bumper sticker. You own the bumper sticker. You’ve considered covering an entire wall in your bathroom with the catch phrase (that would, after all, be quite fitting). It could be that you, like me, have caught yourself shouting to a friend or acquaintance as you part ways, “Keep it weird!” You laugh to yourself, give a thumbs-up and go on your merry way. But do you sometimes walk away wondering, “Am I keeping it weird? Am I doing my part? Am I, as a private citizen, putting my best weird foot forward?”

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Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
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Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals